Tournaments | Story | 7/20/2017

15u WWBA Day 6 Scout Notes

Jheremy Brown         Vincent Cervino         Perfect Game Tournament Staff        
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The Scorpions finished play on Wednesday having clinched a berth in the playoffs and two of the big contributors have been two of the highest ranked players in the class in Michael Brooks (2020, Lake Worth, Fla.) and Dylan Crews (2020, Longworth, Fla.).

Both former 14u PG Select Baseball Festival participants, Brooks will go down as the one with the big hit on Wednesday as he launched a home run to show off some of the power that he possesses in the bat. The swing overall is short and loose through the hitting zone as he is able to generate hard contact with the barrel of the bat. Just as impressive, Brooks made a number of defensive plays to show off his athleticism and instincts over at shortstop. The footwork was very solid with easy ranging actions to both sides and a good internal motor to make plays with good timing. Brooks’ overall package is very impressive with excellent instincts and very solid at nearly all facets of the game; both his bat and his frame project extremely well and he should continue to grow as he continues to develop.

Crews has been detailed in these notes before as he continues to assert himself as one of the top hitters in the class. The righthanded hitter has such a fluid and easy swing, and his barrel skills may only be outmatched by his ability to cover the plate. He adjusts very well during at-bats and has shown excellent pitch recognition to be able to adjust his swing depending on the type and location of the pitch. One of the more impressive at-bats he took was when he went down 1-2 in the count and was able to keep his hands back and drive a breaking ball into the opposite field gap despite his weight being out in front already. Crews can play multiple positions, mostly catching or in the outfield, however the bat is the carrying tool and it looks as if it is only going to get better and improve.

Another player to hit a monster home run was rising freshman Joe Mack (2021, Williamsville, N.Y.) for Tri State Arsenal. The lefthanded hitter was extremely impressive throughout the 14u WWBA National Championship and that success has carried over with him while playing up an age group as he is hitting well over .300 thus far. The bat speed comes easy for Mack as he is incredibly strong and whips the barrel through the zone. He shows occasional leverage through the swing and can pull the ball with good power, especially for his age. The towering shot launched high off the foul pole in deep right field and the only doubt that remained was whether or not the ball would stay fair. Mack has also excelled behind the plate with a very strong arm. There are some raw aspects to the skills behind the plate but he has all the tools to be an impact player, especially with the bat, at the next level.

Righthanded pitcher and the No. 5 prospect for the class, Ethan Wood (2021, Lebanon, Ky.) got the start for Team Halo in their final pool play game on Wednesday and showed quality and projectable tools during the process. The Louisville commit stands at a very physically projectable 6-foot-6, 205-pounds with present strength and tons of room on the frame to add more. The mechanics themselves are a bit raw but there is outstanding arm talent with a long, loose, and easy arm stroke that travels throughout a full arm circle. Wood used primarily his fastball during the outing and the pitch topped out at 87 mph with a wide range of velocities. He could slow the pitch down if he wanted to simply throw strikes in the zone and would ramp up into the 85-87 mph range if he wanted to challenge hitters or gear up for a big at bat. He showed a breaking ball as well with soft break and varying shape. Wood has huge potential on the mound and anytime a rising freshman shows you the kind of tools that he has, it is a spectacle.

After being discussed in previous writeups, Giuseppe Ferraro (2020, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) impressed yet again by going 3-for-3 and showing an easy swing through the hitting zone. Things didn’t start too hot for the Miami commit as the 6-foot-3, 187-pound infielder broke his bat on the first swing of the game. After that however, it would be nothing but barrel for Ferraro as he laced three hits, including a double, in a winning effort for him and his Elite Squad teammates. He has shown serious juice in his bat and continued to show tremendous ability to square up baseballs and continues to mash during this event.

Showing that he made a big jump on the mound from last year to this, Connor Morgan (2020, Brooksville, Fla.) showed some pretty good stuff and a fastball that has climbed to topping out at 89 mph. Morgan is a very physically imposing presence on the mound at 6-foot-1, 200-pounds and looks like he has gained more strength to the frame and that has paid off in the form of velocity. During an abbreviated look, only one inning, Morgan struck out two batters and attacked hitters with his fastball. The pitch comes out of the hand very clean although there is some effort to the delivery; the fastball also shows occasional cut in terms of life. Morgan mixed in a short curveball but primarily used his fastball to blow away opposing hitters. Morgan has been a very interesting two-way prospect for some time and the bat looks pretty up to par as well as he is hitting over .400 with a home run during the event.

Center fielder Alex Urban (2020, Lexington, S.C.) has been one of the most productive hitters during the event with just as many extra-base hits as singles, five of each, and he played a big role in the Canes South first-round playoff victory over FTB. Urban is a bit shorter at 5-foot-10, but he shows good instincts that play all over the field. He reads fly balls well and takes short, quick steps to fly balls on either side. The bat is very impressive too with a compact stroke through the hitting zone which allows his quick hands to guide the barrel too. The lower half and upper half are in sync and he showed the ability to turn on the inside pitch and generate backspin with a loud double that knocked off the right field wall. The batted ball might have been eight feet above the ground the whole way and was a missile of a baseball. The recent Clemson commit has exciting tools on both sides of the ball and continues to be an impact bat for the Canes.

Jonathan Ramsey (2020, Carthage, Tex.) came on in relief during the playoff game and showed a very high ceiling on the mound. The 6-foot-2, 150-pound righthander is very lean and lanky on the mound, with immense physical projection remaining with long arms and legs and a high waist. Ramsey worked as high as 86 mph but sat comfortably in the 80-84 mph range. The arm action was loose and short through the back with some deception in the overall delivery with a higher leg lift. Ramsey got stronger as the outing wore on as he bumped multiple 86 mph pitches toward the end of his time on the mound. The breaking ball also got better as the outing went on as once he got on top of the pitch consistently it showed good depth and shape to it to make it an effective pitch with two strikes.

– Vinnie Cervino

Starting the game for Dallas Tigers Arias was rising sophomore righthander Bradley Missel (2020, Arlington, Texas) who appeared to be in control of the game since the first pitch of the game and never relinquished it over his four no-hit, shutout frames. Listed at 5-foot-11, 160-pounds and without a commitment on his Perfect Game profile page, Missel certainly impressed in his first PG event and should only continue to improve with added physical strength.

Working with an up-tempo delivery in which he loads up on his back side while utilizing a hip turn before driving down the mound, Misssel worked rather comfortably in the 82-85 mph range early on and bumped 86 mph more than a couple of time. He stays short through the back with his arm stroke before working to a three-quarters slot and showed the ability to generate short running life when located down in the zone. On top of the fastball Missel also showed a strong feel for his 74-75 mph changeup with his replicated his arm action on and a 12-to-6 curveball with short depth up to 74 mph as well.

Physically built at 6-foot,1 195-pounds, Thomas Keehn (2019, Highland, Md.) is listed as a primary shortstop according to the roster, but the Duke Blue Devils are getting a legitimate two-way prospect in a couple of years. Prior to his start yesterday Keehn had never been above 89 mph with his fastball, a number he quickly surpassed yesterday going 90-89-91 mph on his first three fastballs of the game.

Thanks to his physicality and quick right arm, Keehn was still showing 90 mph on his fastball in his third, and final, frame, an outing in which he allowed just one hit and a single walk while striking out three. When he was on time with his delivery and on top of the ball from his high three-quarters slot, Keehn attacked hitters with his fastball, missing bats along the way. At times, he’d take about five mph off his fastball and work in the mid-80s, only to ramp it back up and keep hitters off balance. His changeup may be the more advanced of his two secondaries as he maintained his arm speed very well at release and generates late fading life in the 79-81 mph. His curveball, up to 75 mph, offers short depth with 11-to-5 break and gave Keehn three pitches which he could throw for strikes.

Briar Stinson (2020, Rushville, Ill.) is one of the more physical players in the Missouri Gators lineup at 6-foot-1, 180-pounds and finished hitting .313 this tournament with two doubles and two home runs. And though he was held hitless against the San Diego Show on Wednesday, Stinson (who is currently ranked No. 197) still managed to show well with the bat. In his second trip to the plate Stinson did a nice job of recognizing spin, sat back and barreled the ball hard to left field, just mishitting the ball for what would have been his third long ball. He also played center field for the Gators and made a nice play on a rising line drive which he was able to track down, showing the ability to go get and make the catch while on the run.

Already committed to Cal State Fullerton as an outfielder, Nathan Nankil (2020, Chula Vista, Calif.) took to the mound for the San Diego Stars and put his athleticism on display, repeating his delivery pitch-to-pitch while pounding the strike zone. Over three innings of shutout baseball, Nankil needed just 29 pitches to get the job done. Though he didn’t overpower hitters with the fastball as he sat in the 80-83 mph range, Nankil did live down at the knees, did a nice job of repeating his simple delivery, and induced weaker ground ball contact early in the count. He also went 1-for-4 at the plate on the day and shows a fluid swing, one that projects well as he continues to develop physically.

The young up-the-middle combo for the Stars also impressed yesterday morning as Marcelo Mayer (2021, Chula Vista, Calif.) and Emilio Luna (2019, Chula Vista, Calif.) both showed interesting components to their game. Mayer, a rising freshman for this fall, shows a clean and fluid bat path through the zone from the left side and projects very well, especially as he continues to grow into his long and lean 6-foot, 145-pound frame. Luna, the team’s starting shortstop, impressed defensively on back-to-back plays which happened to occur on back-to-back pitches. The first took Luna to his backhand in which he slid to a knee, picked the ball, popped up and nearly got the runner at first base. On the very next pitch Luna managed to nail the runner at first as he came charging in behind the third baseman, again showing range, and had enough arm strength to throw across his body and did so with accuracy.

A rising eighth grader, Calvert Clark (2022, Charlotte, N.C.) is already hitting in the three-hole for the SBA Canes Marucci and though he’s still plenty projectable at 6-foot-3, 160-pounds, Clark already shows plenty of twitch and impressed Wednesday night in his team’s playoff victory. Listed as a primary pitcher, Clark had a strong showing both with the bat and out in left field, where he showed some range to track a ball deep in the left-center field gap as well as a strong arm which could profile in right field long term. Despite his long and lean built Clark is still able to generate sound bat speed through the zone with quick and strong hands, just as we saw with his sac fly where despite getting jammed he still managed to drive the ball deep enough to center field to score the run. Keep an eye on Clark as he’ already showing intriguing tools and won’t enter high school for another full year.

Cade Kuehler (2020, Waxhaw, N.C.) was instrumental in his team’s win Wednesday night as he came in out of the bullpen and managed to hold the Yalobusha Giants’ bats at bay for the most part. With a lean and athletic 5-foot-9, 150-pound build (he looked bigger on the mound), Kuehler was in attacked mode from the first pitch and continued to fill the zone from a high three-quarters slot, consistently generating plane to the bottom of the zone. He sat in the 80-83 mph range and bumped an 84 well into his outing with occasional cut action to his glove side, though it was his curveball that served as the true difference maker. With 12-to-6 shape and an advanced feel, Kuehler has the comfort to throw his breaker in any count, including 3-2, and successfully landed the upper-60s pitch that touched 70 mph with depth more often than not.

The starting shortstop for the San Diego Show, Jordan Thompson (2020, Chula Vista, Calif.) took to the mound in a must-win game and delivered exactly the performance his team needed. Though not overly physical at 5-foot-11, 150-pounds, Thompson’s athleticism shows after watching a handful of pitches as he varies his delivery and looks pitch to pitch, but unlike others his age who are still figuring out their bodies and deliveries, he does it with intent to disrupt hitter’s timing. From a quick pitch to an extra rock step to breaking his hands early and giving an extra pause at the top of his leg lift, Thompson gave an array of looks without impacting his ability to throw strikes.

The uncommitted Thompson opened the game sitting in the 82-85 mph range, similar to what he had shown earlier in the tournament and throws from a lower three-quarters slot with extension out front and angle to his glove side when living down. There’s undoubtedly additional velocity en route as he begins to utilize his lower half and just simply fill out physically. His curveball was a go-to pitch and one he would often front door to righthanded hitters who would be turning away only to have a strike called on them. There are also components to his swing that are noteworthy, including his loose quick hands and fluid swing path through the zone.

In terms of this tournament, there aren’t too many stronger than Kemp Alderman (2020, Decatur, Miss.) who’s listed at 6-foot-2, 215-pounds and he put that physical strength on display in a couple different way. Starting the game on the mound with two hitless innings, Alderman routinely ran his fastball up to 88 mph with a full and clean arm stroke and did so while working exclusively out of the stretch. With both extension and whip out front, Alderman was able to sink the ball down in the zone while generating angle to his glove side and struck out three in those two frame.

A primary catcher who is currently ranked No. 158 in the class, Alderman finished the tournament hitting .476 with a home run, which came on his final swing and it was an impressive shot. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning, the uncommitted Alderman got the barrel head out front and drove the ball 350-plus feet and registered 93 mph off the barrel according to TrackMan as he hooked the ball along the left field foul pole. While that was the longest hit ball of the night for Alderman, it wasn’t his hardest as that came earlier in the game on his single which he hit back up the middle and registered 95 mph off the bat.

Justin Swan (2019, Smithville, Miss.) is another strong, physically impressive hitter in the Yalobusha lineup as he’s listed at 6-foot-4, 215-pounds and he put that strength on display Wednesday night. With balance to his swing, Swan found a pitch he could get extended on and connected for a no-doubt solo shot off the bat, one that registered 362 feet and 93 mph per TrackMan.

The youngest of Ole Miss Head Coach Mike Bianco’s three sons, Sam Bianco (2020, Oxford, Miss.), shows plenty of intriguing tools on the diamond and already has the understanding and advanced instincts for the game that not many his age do. Hitting atop the Yalobusha Giants’ lineup from the left side, Bianco is full of quick-twitch muscle and moves well both down the line, on the bases and defensively at shortsto. With an aggressive, yet balanced, approach at the plate, Bianco shot a line drive single back up the middle on the first pitch of the game before adding a double later in the game. His second hit encompassed a few different parts of Bianco’s game as he stayed inside the baseball and worked the opposite field, read the defender and play, and thanks to hustling out of the box and stretch a single into a double.

Bianco also showed bounce to his step defensively in turning a few double plays, including one where he caught a soft flair behind shortstop, planted his feet and threw a one-hopper to the plate to nail the runner at home and keep the score tied.

– Jheremy Brown

Davis Meche (2020, Lake Charles, La.) showed tools at the plate, with his speed and in the field with his glovework. Meche led off the game with a double to the left-center field gap showing his solid bat speed and short compact swing. He then, stole third with a quick first step. His actions at shortstop are what really stand out though. His quick footwork is impressing to the eye as well as his athleticism. Late in Wednesday’s game, Meche showed off that athleticism by making a game-saving catch getting fully extended for a leaping grab. The uncommitted shortstop has lots of upside especially if he fills out more with strength as he matures.

A primary first baseman, Bobby Koch (2020, Scottsdale, Ariz.) had reps in center field in Wednesday’s contest showing his durable frame while playing the outfield well. Koch also batted leadoff with an aggressive approach – that can be overly aggressive at times – but his ability to hit is apparent. The uncommitted prospect ripped two singles in two of his three at-bats Wednesday. Koch has an athletic frame as well standing at 6-foot-1, 165-pounds and seemingly more filled out than that. His speed is solid as well as he gets down the line rather quickly.

Dalton Pearson (2020, Suwanee, Ga.) continued to hit really well in Roadrunners Baseball’s win Wednesday.  Pearson batted .389 through pool play and it is apparent that he can really hit with his quick hands and bat speed through the hitting zone. He also gets down the line well showing a 4.26-second home-to-first time. The primary outfielder projects as a center fielder with good speed and the ability to get good jumps on fly balls.

Possibly the biggest power potential that I have seen thus far in the 2020 class is from Zion Spearman (2020, Philadelphia, Pa.). The ball jumps off of his bat and his strength, bat speed and raw power are evident. Spearman is built with outstanding lower half strength and athletic ability. Spearman showed off his athleticism in a rundown that he was stuck doing his best Josh Harrison impersonation by running back and forth between first and second base changing directions at least five times before beating the tag at first base and sliding back in safely. Not to mention what Spearman did at the plate, squaring up two line drive singles, one to left field and the other to center field. After his single to center, Spearman went on to steal second and third showing the all-around offensive threat he is.

Nate Wohlgemuth (2020, Owasso, Okla.) is a special arm in the 2020 class. Wohlgemuth’s three innings on Wednesday were about as dominating an outing as it could be. Striking out six of the first seven batters he faced and seven of the 10 he faced altogether, Wohlgemuth was lights out from start to finish. In his first inning his velocity sat 92-94 mph and then stayed in the low-90s the rest of the way.

Wohlgemuth’s fastball has good velocity, but what sets him apart is the life on the pitch. There is frequent action to his arm side and he mixes in a tight curveball in the mid-70s with biting 11-to-5 action.  The righthander throws with intent and there is not too much effort in his delivery. Wohlgemuth pounds the zone specifically to his glove side and repeats his mechanics well. The uncommitted righthander has broad shoulders that go with his big build, as the Oklahoma native has an incredibly high ceiling.

– Gregory Gerard

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